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Monday, March 26, 2018

Montana History in 9 Easy Lessons

Back in November, I asked readers to let me know how Montana history was taught in their district and how the Montana Historical Society could help improve the teaching of Montana history statewide. (If you'd like a copy of the survey results, let me know and I'll happily send a summary to you.)

We've slowly been working through your suggestions and ideas, one of which was to provide more content-oriented (as opposed to strategy-oriented) trainings. That suggestion inspired us to create a new course: Montana History in 9 Easy Lessons.

Every Wednesday, 3:30-4:30, between April 4, 2018, and May 30, 2018, we've asked a colleague to discuss a major period in Montana history. Individually, these programs will offer compelling discussions of specific topics relating to Montana’s past; together they will provide a big-picture overview of the state’s rich and fascinating history. We'll be live-streaming their talks for folks who don't live close enough to Helena to attend in person, and we'll make recordings available after the fact on YouTube. (We'll post links here.) We've also created a simple reflection form for educators to complete after watching one of the presentations so that they can to receive renewal units.

I encourage you to read the full descriptions of each session, but below is a list of dates and titles to pique your interest. I've added a link to the most relevant Montana: Stories of the Land chapter in parentheses, for those interested in how this aligns to the textbook.

  • April 4: Pre-Contact Montana  (Chapter 2)
  • April 11: Early Contact Period (Chapter 3)
  • April 18: Gold! (Chapter 6)
  • April 25: Industrial Montana (Chapter 10 and Chapter 15)
  • May 2: Disintegration: Montana’s Tribal Nations in the Early Reservation Years through the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act (Chapter 11)
  • May 9: Homesteading Boom and Bust (Chapter 13 and Chapter 18)
  • May 16: Montana and the Cold War (Chapter 20)
  • May 23: Modern Revolution and Counterrevolution: Montana from the late 1960s through the 1990s (Chapter 21)
  • May 30: Tribal Sovereignty in the Self-Determination Period (Chapter 22)

I hope you can join us--in person or virtually.

P.S. I helped designed this course, so for those of you who've asked in the past about which topics I'd recommend focusing on or which chapters I'd teach if I had to choose, here's today's answer (though not necessarily next week's.) If you were designing "Montana History in 9 Easy Lessons," which topics would you choose to focus on? I first asked this question--or one like it--in 2012 and compiled folks' answers here, here, and here. You can still take that survey, which I think remains a useful thought exercise, but I'm no longer compiling answers.

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